Help or hindrance? The travel, energy and carbon impacts of highly automated vehicles
Experts predict that new automobiles will be capable of driving themselves under limited conditions within 5–10years, and under most conditions within 10–20years. Automation may affect road vehicle energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a host of ways, positive and negative, by causing changes in travel demand, vehicle design, vehicle operating profiles, and choices of fuels. In this paper, we identify specific mechanisms through which automation may affect travel and energy demand and resulting GHG emissions and bring them together using a coherent energy decomposition framework. We review the literature for estimates of the energy impacts of each mechanism and, where the literature is lacking, develop our own estimates using engineering and economic analysis. We consider how widely applicable each mechanism is, and quantify the potential impact of each mechanism on a common basis: the percentage change it is expected to cause in total GHG emissions from light-duty or heavy-duty vehicles in the U.S. Our primary focus is travel related energy consumption and emissions, since potential lifecycle impacts are generally smaller in magnitude. We explore the net effects of automation on emissions through several illustrative scenarios, finding that automation might plausibly reduce road transport GHG emissions and energy use by nearly half – or nearly double them – depending on which effects come to dominate. We also find that many potential energy-reduction benefits may be realized through partial automation, while the major energy/emission downside risks appear more likely at full automation. We close by presenting some implications for policymakers and identifying priority areas for further research.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 86 (2016)
Issue (Month): C ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/547/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Winebrake, James J. & Green, Erin H. & Comer, Bryan & Corbett, James J. & Froman, Sarah, 2012. "Estimating the direct rebound effect for on-road freight transportation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 252-259.
- Zabat, Michael & Stabile, Nick & Farascaroli, Stefano & Browand, Frederick, 1995. "The Aerodynamic Performance Of Platoons: A Final Report," Institute of Transportation Studies, Research Reports, Working Papers, Proceedings qt8ph187fw, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Berkeley.
- Lyons, Glenn & Jain, Juliet & Holley, David, 2007. "The use of travel time by rail passengers in Great Britain," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 107-120, January.
- Nichols, Brice G. & Kockelman, Kara M., 2014. "Life-cycle energy implications of different residential settings: Recognizing buildings, travel, and public infrastructure," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 232-242.
- Schafer, Andreas & Victor, David G., 2000. "The future mobility of the world population," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 171-205, April.
- Wadud, Zia, 2011. "Personal tradable carbon permits for road transport: Why, why not and who wins?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 1052-1065.
- Small, Kenneth A., 2012. "Valuation of travel time," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 2-14.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:86:y:2016:i:c:p:1-18. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.